Thorpe Park introduces ride that charges mobile phones with screams!

Mobile phones
Thorpe Park’s Scream-O-Meter. The Walking Dead: The Ride, will be the first ever rollercoaster that can charge mobile devices with screams and vibrations. Photo: David Parry/PA Wire

Thorpe Park in Surrey has announced the UK’s first ever rollercoaster that charges mobile phones with screams from its passengers. Developed in conjunction with researchers at Queen Mary University, The Walking Dead: The Ride, will come to the theme park this Easter.

Its launch coincides with new research that shows running out of battery life on phones is the biggest phobia for 68% of millennials!

Train carriages on The Walking Dead: The Ride have been fitted with devices that contain kinetic energy harvesting technology; kinetic energy includes everything from the g-force and vibrations of the ride, to your screams! 

The devices capture this energy before converting into electrical energy, which is stored in a power management unit throughout the day. This unit is then removed from the carriages by staff and deposited into the on-site mobile charging point, allowing guests to charge their devices. 

Essentially, the more you scream, the greater amount of energy is harvested to charge your mobile phone. Guests will charge their mobile phones by depositing into an on-park charging unit, powered by previous ride goers screams that have been extracted from one of five Scream-O-Meter units on the train carriage.  

If thrill-seekers are brave enough to open their eyes, they will see a set of LED lights in blood red powering up as guests’ screams become louder. The 188 mm x 188 mm x 67 mm energy harvesting device is jet black, designed to blend in with the surroundings on the rollercoaster.

Designed and installed by researchers at Queen Mary University London and the engineering team at Thorpe Park, the technology took three months to implement, from design to instillation. It will be available at the Surrey based theme park for an initial trial period. If this proves successful, the technology may become a permanent fixture for the remainder of the 2018 season.     

Says Dr Joe Briscoe, School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University of London: 

“Using vibrations and movement from The Walking Dead: The Ride has allowed us to harness the stray energy that is all around us. This is an exciting concept that will undoubtedly be used more frequently in the future.  The system uses a mini energy harvester to capture the kinetic energy, transferring it to a separate electrical circuit and storage unit, which is enough to charge a mobile phone.”

This all comes after it was revealed that mobile phones running out of battery is the top fear for millennials (68%), with sounding stupid at work (54%), and your favourite Netflix series being cancelled (34%) also topping the list.  
Alongside a lack of mobile phone charge, other top fears of young people include sounding stupid at work or university (34%), not getting any likes for a social post (29%), unexpected overdraft fees (28%) and finding a grey hair (17%).  A full top ten list of fears can be seen below:

  1. Mobile phone running out of battery
  1. Sounding stupid at work or university
  1. Your favourite TV show being cancelled
  1. Getting no likes on a social media post
  1. Unexpected overdraft fees
  1. Missing out on festival tickets
  1. Finding a grey hair
  1. Falling behind your workout buddy at the gym
  1. Having to wait over ten minutes for an UBER
  1. Parent friend request on social media



Chris Price
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